art and design

ADC Channel #4 Mama Africa

Mama Africa | How are you doing Mama | Mama Africa | Long time me no see you Mama ...There's so many things about you | Wondering where you are | They try their best to hide you Mama | But I search and I find you...In you there's so much beauty | 
In you there's so much life | In you there's so many kingdoms | To me it's out of sight... (parts of the lyrics from "Mama Africa" by Peter Tosh)


My family is very connected to Africa, my cousins have their roots in Mozambique through their father and i fell in love with Mama Africa when i first met her in South Africa 5 years ago. Africa is an amazing source of music, design, fashion and art that is unfortunately not mentioned enough...here is my personal current best of fashion, music, object design, photography and graphics from and inspired by Mama Africa (all bolded texts and titles are links)

Mammaw (www.mammaw.com)

Mammaw is a team of four designers based in London that is specialized in hand sewn collections made using Ankara styles, African patterns, Kente cloth and traditional fabrics. All pieces are produced in limited edition.

Lemlem (www.lemlem.com)

I am completely in love with the fabrics of  Lemlem, an ethiopian brand created by Liya Kebede in 2007. Lemlem, which means bloom or flourish in amharic, is all about natural cotton clothes and fabrics, 100% hand weaven according to traditional techniques. The lightness and colors of the textiles is just one of the things that make Lemlem so special. The other thing about the brand is that (as stated on their site) "5% of all sales and proceeds from special promotions support LKFs work to help African moms thrive. The LKF (Liya Kebede Foundation), and its work helps address the top health concern of women in Africa – access to life-saving maternity care. With its giving partners LKF aims to make childbirth safer by training midwives who provide care near where we source and manufacture."

Jain - Makeba

Jain, originated from Madagascar lived 3 years in the Congo as a teenager and makes pop music like nobody else at the moment. She has this song, Makeba...when i hear it, i can not sit till on my chair, i have to get up and move my dancing feet...The clip was directed by the french duo Greg et Lio, who's work reminds me a little bit of  Michel Gondry.

It's a track about the South African singer and civil rights activist Miriam Makeba and Jain states on her site: “Her voice is part of my childhood,” says Jain. “In Paris I discovered that a lot of my friends knew nothing about her. I found that sad so I wrote the song. The idea was to modernise Miriam Makeba so people my age might search her out."

Solar Jar by Consol

This is the best gift i got from Africa. Ohad brought me back wonderful wooden bracelets, beautiful wooden carved bowls and a Solar Jar from his recent trip to Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Solar Jar is my favorite. It's beautiful, so smart, simple, functional and sustainable. A perfect piece of design. Its basically a glass jar with a solar panel on the top and an integrated LED light. If it stays in the sunlight for 6-8 hours, it gives up to 12 hours of light. It has an automatic day/night switch that turns the LED off if the lighting conditions are good in order to save battery and turns the light on again, once the surroundings are dark. It even has a USB charging feature as an alternative to sunlight, if solar charging is not possible. You can fill the jar with whatever you wish to create a beautiful atmosphere in the house (i recently filled my jar with chocolate money for this post). Detailed fact sheet available here.

Marinka Masseus - Under the same sun (2016)

The Dutch photographer Marinka Masséus is the IPA (International Photography Award) photographer of the Year 2016. Her work "Under the same sun" raises awareness for people who are born with albinism. Have a look at the full series of pictures on her website and i can warmly recommend this article with an interview about her work giving insights about her motivation and thoughts.

 

Lulu Kitololo Studio / Asilia

Lulu Kitololo is the creative director behind Lulu Kitololo Studio. Till 2015 Lulu was part of Asilia, a shared design studio together with her partner from Haba haba. Lulu's blog, Afri-Love is much recommended for everyone interested in african design and culture. Here are some projects from Asilia and from Lulu Kitololo Studio. 

Animal Doodles by Rohan Sharad Dahotre

Rohan is actually an illustrator from India, but he did some beautiful doodles and wild animals from Africa that i find very inspiring and fitting for this post. You can visit more of his work here.

ADC Channel #3

At art school we had this morning once a week where we had to watch different video works for about 4 hours. I liked it, although i always thought that i should hate it just for the reason that the teacher was making absolutely no effort other than introducing every artist with a few words and activating the light switch and videoplayer. I mean, just out of principle you should not like classes by teachers that make zero effort and put no creativity in what they are doing, no? On the other hand i remember quite a lot of really cool and inspiring stuff from these mornings, like "The way things go" ("Der Lauf der Dinge") from the swiss artist duo Fischli/Weiss. The 30 minutes video is showing a chain reaction of all kinds of bottles, balls, things set on fire, falling pieces of wood and it just goes on and on and on, like domino pieces except that every new element is surprising and interesting. The whole thing is one shot without any cut and i always wondered how many times they had to set up everything and start anew till everything fell exactly into the right spot at the right time. Here is a short part from the work:

Fischli/Weiss got inspired by Rube Goldberg, who was a cartoonist and an inventor of all sorts of crazy things. Search for his cartoons, it will make you smile and if you have kids, they will surely love it. Like "How to get rid of a mouse" (click on the bolded title to see, it's one of my favorites...)

Numerous videos and works inspired by Goldberg have been made since. There is the band OK Go, which did this video:

and there is Melvin the Machine that was presented at the Dutch design week 2010:

and there is smaller productions like "The Page Turner" by Joseph Herscher:

All these machines are the perfection of creativity. If my son will ever tell me "ima, i want to have an automatic teeth brushing machine" i will tell him: "Deal, let's rent a garage and build one!"

Gallery Adventures #3

A few weeks back i passed the Helena Rubinstein pavilion and i was shocked to see a scaffold on its roof.

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Building sites are part of the city scape, and Tel Aviv without building sites wouldn't be Tel Aviv, but adding additional floors to this beautiful pavilion built in the 50ies...really?
And w.t.f.....the thing is collapsing...oh, wait...
Shai Ratner's "Monument" is intending to make viewers feel exactly that. So simple but also so smart and complex. Today i got to see the exhibition inside the pavilion and together with Ohad's friday evening meal, it was definitely the highlight of this day. "Workspace" is an exhibition based around the theme of the work space.
I was really impressed by the pieces of Roy Mordechay balancing between carpentry and art, influenced by his relationship with his father who is a carpenter. I felt close to Roy's work, even though my father doesn't own a carpentry and didn't loose a finger in the workshop. I feel myself designer and carpenter at the same time, and i like the poetry that Roy shows between the two, the down to earth side and the floating abstract one. Roy's work is like listening to a conversation between those worlds. The wooden model of Roy's father's Subaru car, that stands as a central piece in the room is a piece of perfect craftsmanship, a masterpiece of carpentry and yet an object completely free of any kind of functionality. It reminded me a bit of Richard Artschwager...

Reut Fester's work also has a deep connection to her family and to the store that her family owns. This store, which is also home to her studio, is omnipresent in her work. I really liked the video "Sagi", that documents her brother's wish to become an artist himself and ends by showing him as a living readymade. In the entrance of the exhibition, Reut built a small store, "Knoller - Helena Rubinstein Branch" where she is selling little pieces and ready mades.

Meir Tati's piece "Sharashka" is filling the whole upper floor of the pavilion and reconstructs a labor camp inspired by a russian gulag. The walls are filled with paintings that remind of graffiti art and on a big screen, Tati shows himself wearing a yellow mask, wandering around the premises of the russian camp in the snow. I felt a disturbing closeness and at the same time distance when walking through the labyrinth of rooms of sharashka. The description of the work says: "The choice of the Gulag as a workspace by an Israeli artist may seem somewhat puzzling. Nevertheless, pursuing a history which is distant in terms of both time and space may, in fact, be liberating.Engagement with the story of the other by borrowing a human catastrophe "not his own"enables Meir Tati to address broad subjects from disillusioned, more principled and less involved perspective: socialism, totalitarian regimes, tyranny, genocide, and the unbearable discrepancy between politics and a humanitarian-social leadership. All these project on  Jewish-historical events and on local scenarios taking place in the current era."

The exhibition is absolutely worth a visit. You can see it till Saturday 31 October 2015.

 

Gallery adventures #2

Last week i went to see the exhibition Story Time - seven video installations in the Helena Rubenstein Pavillon of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The exhibition featured works from Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Yael Bartana, Simon Fujiwara, Camille Henrot, Thalia Hoffman, Hajnal Németh, Saskia Olde Wolbers, all artists that are expanding the boundaries of storytelling.

I was really impressed and fascinated by “Inferno” the work of Yael Bartana, a israeli video artist living in Berlin and Tel Aviv.

The Petzel Gallery that showed “Inferno” last month in New York describes the work with the following words: “(…) Inferno centers on a replica of Solomon’s Temple currently being constructed by a Neo-Pentecostal Church in São Paulo, Brazil. In just 18 minutes Inferno implodes traditional concepts of place, time and belief. Bartana combines real events with a “pre-imagining” that is sure to inspire a flood of questions and spark debate around topics such as creation, ritual, memorialization and commercialization. With its rich pageantry, stylized costuming and references to epic Hollywood blockbusters, Inferno has been referred to as a “visual feast.(…)”

Definitely an artist that I will follow in the future. Look out for her work!

ADC Channel #2

You know how somehow you stumble over forgotten treasures in your house? Well, I found a small exhibition catalogue not so long ago and today I want to present the artist in this week’s edition of the ArtDesignCrafts Channel. Yael Balaban is an israeli artist born in Moscow. Her work is so incredibly rich in details and simply breathtaking.

(The pictures in this post are photos I took from the exhibition catalogue “Drawing Attack”. I am sorry for the poor quality, but hope you can still get a glimpse about yael’s artistic genius…)

Beautiful things #3

I am crazy about paper goods. Typography, paper, print, book binding, all these things…Since I am a teenager I like writing my thoughts down and I am always looking for interesting and special notebooks.

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When I discovered that I was pregnant, I decided to keep a logbook of the events and the feelings all along the way of the 9 month. I dedicated all the entries to my son. I wanted him to have this notebook later and to be able to read his own story.

I bought a notebook from pulp, a paper good brand that was founded by an acquaintance of mine. I love their notebooks from the Pulp 6! series and their wonderful limted edition typeface notebooks. So since january 2013 I am writing down all the milestones and the small details about Alva in the notebook that I hope he will love as much as I do.

Are you writing down your thoughts? What kind of notebook are you using?

ADC Channel #1

ADC Channel.ADC = ArtDesignCrafts. It’s a discovery channel for all interesting things that come my way. It’s a first impression, a glimpse, a few pictures of a art, design or craft piece without much added text but a link to a source where you can read more about the topic.

This week: Serge Salat and his immersive installation: Beyond Infinity.

full article and source here.

you should also have a look at the video

Gallery adventures #1

I am excited to share some of my art and design discoveries with you in Gallery adventures.

This week: Some pieces of Tal Amitai-Lavi's current exhibition Light Construction at the Chelouche Gallery Tel Aviv.

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The solo exhibition of Tal is really worth a visit. Her art is fascinating, acurate and laborious.

I was particularly impressed by the 3 works showing scenes of the impact caused by Hurricane Katarina. The drawings are entirely made of black sewing thread glued on clear perspex sheets.

Introducing her work, Tal Amitai-Lavi cites a passage from Italo Calvino’s Book Invisible Cities describing the city of Thekla:

"Those who arrive at Thekla can see little of the city, beyond the plank fences, the sackcloth screens, the scaffoldings, the metal armatures, the wooden catwalks hanging from ropes or supported by sawhorses, the ladders, the trestles. If you ask ‘Why is Thekla’s construction taking such a long time?’ the inhabitants continue hoisting sacks, lowering leaded strings, moving long brushes up and down, as they answer ‘So that it’s destruction cannot begin.’ And if asked whether they fear that, once the scaffoldings are removed, the city may begin to crumble and fall to pieces, they add hastily, in a whisper, “Not only the city…”

Beautiful things #2

We have been spending the last two weeks renovating Alva’s room.

The only space in the house that could potentially work as a children’s room was our storage. A small crammed little thing, with an exit door to the backyard balcony (unfortunately there is no picture of the room in its initial state). Everyone we asked said that this room would never be a place for a child to grow in. But we stayed convinced that the space had a lot of potential. Crammed and small yes but with a very high ceiling and quite a nice view.

Ohad’s father helped us so much, we couldn’t have done it without him. He first moved the washing machine to the kitchen then Ohad and me took some time to go over everything there was in the room and throwing stuff (pic. 1). I feel that this was probably the biggest obstacle in the process: sorting out past memories, choosing whether they are worth keeping or not. Once the room was completely empty (pic. 2), we build in the gallery (pic. 3), fixed the door and took of the ugly iron bars from the window, filled the cracks in the walls with plaster, painted everything (pic. 4) and put the stuff we chose to keep on the gallery.

The room has a beautiful chessboard-tile floor but unfortunately nobody ever took care of it and despite all my efforts in scrubbing it with all sorts of tile-cleaning agents, I had to admit defeat. It just didn’t look good. So we got a wall to wall felt carpet as a first layer (pic. 5) and a very cosy darker carpet for the front part of the room.

We got a matress from Ohads sister and decided we didn’t want a crib with bars for Alva. We put the matress directly on the floor and will secure it with pillows on each side once he will spend the nights in his room (since I am still nursing him at night, this will take some more time. In the meanwhile he spends his afternoon nap there. pic. 6).

Ohad put some shelves up and I took some beautiful postcards from Jeanette Besmer to be the colorinspiration for the room. I bought two little boxes with acrylic glass cover and two boxes with a regular wooden cover and painted the backwalls in one of the colors featured in the postcards. Then I changed the unused covers into picture frames for the cards. (pic. 7 and 8)

I wanted the light in the room to be warm, so we transformed a simple basket from the market to be a ceiling lamp and once the lights turned on, there was this beautiful unplanned shadow play on the wall. (pic. 9)

The last touches were a fresh light blue curtain and a red paper guirland.

And there it is: Alvas beautiful cosy new room.

He loves to play on the carpet and to look out at the trees in the garden.

Beautiful things #1

Since Alva’s birth we are getting a big amount of presents for him. To be honest, it is something I was nervous about even before he was born, to the point of having bad dreams about it. I felt we have to tell everyone that we are kind of special regarding presents for kids. Both Ohad and me are no fans of plastic toys and are favoring pale pastel and natural beige tones to the shrieking colors that are so common to toys designed for children. So we told everyone that we would be happy about toys made of wood or fabric and in general things in neutral colors. I felt kind of strange to give friends and family instructions about what presents to buy, but everyone was very understanding and took up the challenge. We got some really beautifully designed and/or very educational presents. Here are 5 items out of our favorites:

1. Bunny lamp (the porcelaine gives the entire room a beautiful very dimmed light. We usually leave it on at night.) available here: www.whiterabbitengland.com

2. Rattle (made of cornstarch) available here: www.iplaybabywear.com

3. Storage bin (100% cotton, really cool to store toys, laundry ect.) available here: www.3sprouts.com

4. Swaddles (made from muslin, they get softer with every wash) available here: www.adenandanais.com

5. Wooden animals (every one of them is a little hand crafted jewel) available here: www.t-lab-japan.com

How about you? Are you having trouble finding nicely designed and educational toys for your kids? What are your favorites? I am looking forward to read your suggestions and comments about this.